These teensy ficlets have been posted separately on my LiveJournal, but I thought I'd put them together in one place. Some are book-canon and some movie-verse, but all are lighthearted (and loving) glimpses into the ever-fascinating and irrepressible Pippin Took. The ficlets range from baby!Pip to post-Quest and back again, and I hope you enjoy them.
(Regarding the first ficlet, I don't know if there are any pumpkins in Middle-earth, but… why not?)
DISCLAIMER: Of course. The characters don't belong to me, I just get to think about them day and night.
"How do his parents keep him clean?" Frodo asked in exasperation. Once again, he pulled his tiny cousin out of the enormous, nearly hollowed-out pumpkin, where the inquisitive hobbit had crawled in search of more of the delicious, orange-y snack.
"They don't," 11-year-old Merry replied matter of factly, "they've given up. Uncle Paladin says he's never known a Took who was such a pure-bred rascal as this one." He dampened another cloth and ran it over his cousin's tiny face. Pippin laughed with glee and threw his chubby arms around Merry's neck, splattering pumpkin into his cousin's hair as he did so.
"Good thing he's so loveable," Frodo grumbled, "or we'd have to trade him in."
"Did you ever want to trade me in?" asked Merry in sudden alarm. "I was never any trouble, was I?"
"Not a bit of it," Frodo said with a fond smile, remembering how little Merry used to crawl unerringly into the nearest mud puddle every time someone took their eyes off him for two seconds. "You were a perfect baby."
"Of course I was," Merry said smugly. He hauled Pippin back from another pumpkin encounter and held the 3-year-old on his lap. "We shouldn't trade him in yet, Frodo," he said seriously, entranced by the child's sparkling green eyes. "I like him."
"I like him too," Frodo agreed. He wiped tiny, messy hands with their last clean cloth. "All right, we'll keep him for another year then, shall we?"
"Another year it is," Merry agreed. "You hear that, Pip?"
"Mewwy," Pippin murmured. He curled up in Merry's lap and slid a pumpkin-flavored thumb into his mouth. Frodo shook his head in amazement at how this tiny one had wrapped himself around their hearts so thoroughly.
"Frodo," Merry sighed, resting his chin on Pippin's soft golden curls, "we might like him even more in another year."
"I don't think that would be possible," Frodo said softly.
A Fateful Meeting
The wizard knelt in front of the awed child.
"And what is your name?"
"P.. Peregrin, sir. Peregrin Took."
"Did you enjoy the fireworks, Peregrin Took?"
"Oh yes!" the child enthused. "It was like you broke open the skies, and the stars exploded, and dragons flew, and..." He stopped for breath. "Will you do it again tomorrow night, even if it isn't Cousin Bilbo's birthday anymore?"
"That was just for tonight," the wizard said gently. "Do you like your toy?"
The child traced one finger over the tiny, feathered wings, which fluttered at a touch. "It's wonderful. And it moves all by itself!" He looked into the wizard's large, empty hands. "Didn't you get one?"
"No," the wizard laughed.
"You didn't?" the child frowned. Without a second's hesitation, he held out the Dwarvish-made treasure. "You can play with mine, sir. I'm sure you were just overlooked."
"That's very kind of you," said the wizard, "but you keep it." He looked thoughtfully at the small face, and peered deeply, for just a moment, into the child's eyes. So he had been right about this one. "You have a generous heart, my lad, and a very bright spirit."
The boy looked puzzled. "Everyone says I have too much spirit."
"Do they indeed?" The wizard smiled and stood up. "I'm very glad we met, Peregrin. Perhaps one day, our roads will join once again." He pointed to one of the tables. "You'd better hurry, now, or you'll miss the cake."
"Cake?" The child's eyes lit up, and he bounded away.
"Bilbo would like to speak with you."
The wizard paused for just a moment longer, imprinting upon his memory the child's face and name, before smiling down at Frodo. "Lead the way, dear boy," he chuckled, "and let us see what Bilbo is up to."
Maybe He Should Just Stick to Water from Now On (written for Kit5/Pippinswolf's birthday)
"Your face is dirty, Gandalf," Pippin said helpfully. "Or at least, what I can see of it."
"Peregrin," Gandalf sighed, "after all these weeks, none of us are are clean as we might be."
"But you're a wizard," the young hobbit said, puzzled. "Can't you just wave your staff or mutter some magic words, and 'whoosh' off all the dirt?"
"Magic is not to be used lightly," Gandalf scowled.
"I don't think you can do it!" Pippin chortled in delight.
The wizard's eyes narrowed, and his hand tightened on his staff.
"Mer," Frodo whispered worriedly, "I think Gandalf's about to turn Pippin into something dreadful."
Merry sighed. "Any time he has some of that miruvor, he seems to lose all common sense. Remember, when Glorfindel gave us some on the Road, and suddenly Pip was calling Asfaloth 'nice horsie' and trying to swing from his tail?"
Frodo stared at him. "I was in a pretty bad way by then -- I thought I had hallucinated that."
Merry grinned suddenly. "On the other hand, I always have kind of wondered if wizards can turn folks into other things. Haven't you?"
Frodo grinned back. "Yes."
"I've been wonderin' about that too," Sam piped up, coming to join them. "For a long time, actually."
The three hobbits watched, with interest, as Gandalf stood up slowly, towering over the slightly tipsy youngster -- but suddenly the wizard started to chuckle, and walked away.
"Too bad," Merry said, disappointed. "Hey, do you think maybe he can't do it? Like Pip said?"
"We'll probably never find out," Sam sighed.
"Pip, no!" Frodo whispered suddenly.
"He's sharpening his axe," Merry said, alarmed. "Maybe we should---"
"Your face is dirty, Gimli!" Pippin's bright, cheerful voice echoed loudly throughout the camp. "Or at least, what I can see of it..."
Maybe it's the Accent
Legolas drew the wizard aside. "Mithrandir," he remarked, "you know more about hobbits than anyone -- why does Pippin speak so differently than the others?"
"Because he's a Took."
"I've thought about this for many years, Legolas, and I believe that the Tooks are taught to speak like that so they can be as impertinent as they please, but still seem charming and endearing. There's something almost hypnotic in the tonal rhythm."
"He is charming and endearing," Legolas said with a frown. "Pippin can say the most annoying thing, and it just makes me want to hug him and give him my dessert."
"It's the accent," the wizard said sagely. "That Took clan is fiendishly clever." He pointed to where Frodo was laughing at something Pippin had just said, and Sam was surreptitiously handing the young Took an extra piece of fruit. "They have the whole Shire fooled."
"Are you immune?" the Elf asked.
"Of course!" the wizard huffed. "Do you imagine that this youngster's power is the equal of my own?"
"It's just that he couldn't persuade Lord Elrond to let him go with Frodo, but you agreed immed---"
Pippin came over to join them. "Gandalf," he asked sweetly, "can we please get off this snowy mountain? It's awfully cold up here -- I might catch a chill."
Gandalf beamed at him, and Legolas saw that the wizard's eyes had glazed over slightly in a bemused expression.
"Of course, dear boy," the wizard smiled. "Let us leave at once!"
Minas Tirith: Kitchen Duty (written for MagicalRachel's birthday)
"Pip, this is really hard for me to---"
"I don't care how many fingers you're missing, Frodo Baggins," Pippin said in exasperation. "Do it!" He pushed Frodo back down on the stool. Again.
"Is that how your parents brought you up, Peregrin? Ordering adults around like this?" Frodo waved the paring knife at his cousin, trying to stall for time. Surely Sam would rescue him?
"Such a fuss over a few little potatoes," Merry clucked.
"Little?" Frodo gasped. "These are giants!"
"Strider said that peeling some every day would help your hand regain its dexterity," Merry reminded him.
"Still," Sam muttered, "peeling taters don't seem like somethin' Mr. Frodo should be doing. Can't we help him with a few of those?" He reached for Frodo's knife, only to have his hand slapped away by Pippin.
"He has to peel three more, Sam," Pippin said seriously. "Ten a day, that's what Strider said."
Frodo sighed and picked up another potato in his left hand, and began peeling it slowly with his right. It was good therapy for his hand, he could tell -- but Pippin was such fun to tease…
"What will folks say," Frodo asked casually, "when they see a Knight of Gondor standing guard over the frail, injured Ring-bearer, forcing him to slave away in one of the kitchens?"
"Frail? Hardly!" Merry chortled.
Pippin grinned, refusing to be baited. "They'll say, 'There's a Knight who loves his King, and loves his cousin…'"
"…and loves his potatoes," Merry added.
"They really are beauties," Sam marveled, picking up one of the large vegetables from the pile.
"You missed a spot, Frodo." Pippin pointed to a microscopic bit of peel left on one of the peeled potatoes.
"Mr. Pippin," Sam said sternly, "he's doin' the best he can."
"Finished!" Frodo said triumphantly. He tossed the last nicely-peeled potato into the water-filled basin, and slowly got to his feet with an exaggerated groan.
"Stars above, Frodo," Merry sighed, "don't try that sympathy routine with us. You haven't aged a day in 17 years, and I doubt you're falling to pieces this very minute."
"Did he moan and groan this much in Mordor, Sam?" Pippin asked. "How did you ever put up with it?"
"All right!" Frodo threw up his arms in surrender. His eyes fell on the open window, through which a gentle, spring breeze wafted, fragrant with flowers and greenery. "How about a walk before dinner?" He took one step towards the door, but was halted by Merry's hand against his chest.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" Merry asked sternly.
"I don't th---"
"Here you go, Frodo," Pippin said, pressing a large, dried sea-sponge into his cousin's unwilling grasp. "Strider told us you need to get one of these things all sopping wet, then crush it slowly in your hand until all the water comes out of it. Ten times."
Frodo sighed and took the sponge. He dipped it into the basin, his eyes widening at how much water it absorbed.
"Well," Merry said slowly, "maybe eight times will do it."
"Three," Frodo countered quickly.
"Five, and not one squeeze less," Pippin insisted firmly.
Frodo beamed at the two of them. "You're my favorite cousins, again." He began to slowly squeeze the sponge over the basin.
Sam pulled Pippin aside. "Mr. Pippin," he whispered, "I thought Strider told us that Mr. Frodo only had to squeeze that thing five times."
"Did he?" Pippin asked innocently. "Well even if he did, look how smug Frodo looks! He needs to think he's gotten the best of us once in a while, you know."
"That's pretty sneaky," Sam said admiringly. "Who taught you how to do that?"
"Merry and I learned from the best, Sam," Pippin murmured, gazing fondly at Frodo. "The very best."